2023's Dr. Michael Simpson Scholarship Recipients Announced

Friday, August 4, 2023

The Secure World Foundation is thrilled to announce the winners of the Dr. Michael Simpson Scholarship Fund. These young professionals will receive scholarships for travel to the 2023 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Baku, Azerbaijan. Each scholarship provides an invaluable platform for emerging professionals to further their career development and contribute innovative ideas to the international space community.

This year, we received an impressive array of nearly 60 abstracts from ambitious young professionals across the globe. Following an exhaustive review and assessment process, we are excited to introduce the five distinguished recipients of the Michael Simpson Scholarship. These individuals will travel and participate in the IAC, showcasing their unique insights and potential:

Headshot of Daniel Patton, winner of the MSSF scholarshipDaniel Patton 

Daniel Patton is an environmental specialist and researcher based in Huntsville, Alabama. Daniel started his career as an inspector and permit writer for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. He currently works as an environmental protection specialist at NASA where he specializes in hazardous materials and natural resources. Daniel currently serves as the vice-chair of NASA's Natural Resources Council. Daniel was selected as a 2022 space sustainability fellow with the Secure World Foundation, where he researched space policy and economics. Daniel has a bachelor's degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia and a master's in natural resources from Virginia Tech. Daniel is currently pursuing a doctorate in engineering from Penn State.

Daniel's Paper from IAC can be read here.


Headshot of Jodie Howlett, MSSF Schoalrship WinnerJodie Howlett

Jodie joined the UK Space Agency in 2021, where she works as a Senior Systems Engineer within the Office of the Chief Engineer. She provides detailed technical oversight on various UK-supported space missions and projects, from Earth Observation missions that help tackle climate change to large flagship science missions involving several international players. Notably, Jodie is Technical Lead for UK ADR (Active Debris Removal), the UK Space Agency’s first major national mission.

Jodie graduated with a First Class (Hons) in MEng Mechanical Engineering from Sheffield Hallam University in 2019 and then went on to complete the Space Studies Program at the International Space University in France. She then joined the European Space Agency’s mission control centre in Germany, working in product assurance and quality alongside 800 colleagues from over 20 countries.

Outside of work, Jodie serves as a Trustee for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Support Network. She’s also an active member of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and enjoys supporting outreach initiatives as a STEM Ambassador.


Headshot of Scott Anthony Schneider, MSSF scholarship winnerScott Anthony Schneider

Scott holds a Master in Laws in air and space law from Leiden University, where his primary research considered mental capacity in human spaceflight.
He is a founding member of the Space Law Council of Australia and New Zealand, a member of the International Institute of Space Law, and has worked in various capacities with the International Space University.

Scott developed the regulatory portfolio at Southern Launch, leading the team to obtain authorizations for activities from two Australian private launch sites. He also engages in law reform and policy development initiatives to ensure regulation and government interests do not unnecessarily hinder the benefits of space activities from reaching society.
As part of his role as special counsel at International Aerospace Law & Policy Group, Scott develops education and outreach strategies to communicate the benefits of space applications to the public and to encourage students, workers, and organizations to engage in the global space market. Scott currently teaches Space Entrepreneurship for the Masters of Business Administration candidates at Flinders University in Australia.

Scott's Paper from IAC can be read here.


Headshot of Natalia Indira Vargas Cuentas, MSSF scholarship winnerNatalia Indira Vargas Cuentas

Natalia is a Ph.D. Candidate for the Doctorate in Geomatics and Space Systems from the Mario Gulich Institute of Advanced Space Studies of CONAE (National Commission for Space Activities) and the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC), Argentina. She holds a master's degree in Space Technology Applications, with a major in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems from Beihang University (BUAA), China. 

Natalia is an Electronic Engineer at the Military School of Engineering (Escuela Militar de Ingeniería - EMI) in La Paz, Bolivia. She is the Coordinator of the Image Processing Research Laboratory (INTI-Lab) of the Universidad de Ciencias y Humanidades in Peru. Also, she is a Senior Member of IEEE and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the research incubator BE Tech (Business on Engineering and Technology).

Natalia's Paper from IAC can be read here.

Headshot of Tanushri Dinesh Joshi, MSSF scholarship recipient.Tanushri Dinesh Joshi

Tanushri Joshi is a space lawyer based in India and has previously worked as a Legal and Business Development Associate at Skyroot Aerospace Private Limited, wherein, amongst other responsibilities, she assisted on legal matters pertaining to India’s first private space launch, i.e., the launch of Vikram-S. She is a member of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) Working Group on Light Pollution of the Night Sky From a Space Law Perspective and continues to work on various research papers related to space law and policy.

Ms. Tanushri’s IAC paper is titled “Analyzing The Obligation To Recover And Return Space Objects Upon Controlled Re-Entry Under International Space Law.

In keeping with our commitment to nurturing talent and encouraging groundbreaking thinking, we're excited to learn of the insightful contributions our scholarship recipients will bring to the IAC. This unique gathering provides an unparalleled platform for new voices to be heard, and we are excited to see how this year's attendees will influence the future trajectory of space exploration and sustainability.

Tanushri's Paper from IAC can be read here.

Last updated on November 8, 2023